Occupational Medicine environments are complex and multi-faceted. Growing as a successful OM facility implies a high level of patient and business symbiosis. A thriving OM business not only provides an exceptional patient experience first-and-foremost – but it also generates revenue and manages expenses. With that said, keeping patients satisfied and the business fruitful relies on clinical operations functioning efficiently. A functional workflow balances the business aspects of OM facilities while creating more valuable patient experiences. Maintaining the standard of quality starts by having a functional workflow that generates a productive clinical environment.
Assessing and adjusting workflow to reduce disruptions ensures desirable patient experiences and enables a business for commercial growth. Even minor operation inefficiencies can affect both the patients and the business in a significant way. Conversely, a tactfully planned workflow means a better opportunity for expansion. An effective workflow should promote streamlined communication and assist in creating streamlined patient interactions, which makes for a patient experience. Eddie Stahl, Clinical Solutions Consultant, suggests that an efficient workflow is “critical in creating a revolving door of opportunity and cash”. Furthermore, an efficient workflow is crucial in keeping revenue, expenses, and productivity in check. Drawing the line between workflow operations and business success requires a baseline performance measurement strategy. Eddie emphasizes, “Revenue, expenses, and productivity must be in line to grow a profitable OM business. Determining Key Performance Indicators, or KPI’s, allows you to monitor those items.”
Key Performance Indicators
Occupational Medicine Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are the tangible measurement items that detect the efficiencies and inefficiencies within a workflow. Like a GPS, they are strategic tools to assess surroundings, navigate, and constantly track the state of a clinical environment. Successful Occupational Medicine facilities share areas of focus that can be attributed to their prosperity: pursuing quality patient outcomes, enhancing margins, and increasing patient volume. Those focus areas are places that KPIs should be established and continuously measured. Watch the video below, featuring Eddie Stahl, to see specific KPI examples using those Occupational Medicine focus areas.
Eddie points out that, “Just as important as documenting your current Key Performance Indicators, you need to establish your goal KPIs”. Setting KPI goals such as reducing cancellation rates or yielding a certain number of visits per hour are strategic ways to guide efforts and confirm that they are purposeful.
Thought of the areas that need improvement but want to know how to track and measure KPIs? Watch below, starting at 3:05, as Eddie breaks down a strategy for scoring facilities improvements and changes.
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For occupational medicine, there are three areas of importance in running a successful Occ Med facility. Patient outcomes, enhancing your margins, and building volume. To improve patient experience, assessing your workflows to determine inefficiencies and bottlenecks in clinical flow that’s increasing wait times and any other areas that impact your overall operational process are critical in creating a revolving door of opportunity and cash.
Revenue, expenses, and productivity must be in line to grow a profitable augmented business. Determining your key performance indicators, or KPIs as we call them, are significant in running your business, which is going to allow you to monitor those areas and proactively head off any hurdles that you foresee. To build volume, you must have the visits and staff to support an ever-growing business, as well as a marketing strategy to gain additional business. You may not currently track your referral base now, but having established satisfied clients who refer other potential customers to you is really as good as having an excellent marketing strategy.
As important as documenting your current key performance indicators is establishing your goal key performance indicators. For example, one client in particular that I recently worked with determined their goal was to have three physicians and or mid-level providers at all of their locations with 20 minute appointment time slots. This would yield about three visits per hour, keeping in mind that some visits do take longer than others. We also want to focus on their productivity. They had a target of 75% with a 10 to 15 minute wait time average.
So, the information provided in this spreadsheet is the same client and it’s actually quite shocking. So, based on a one provider practice, utilizing their state fee schedule and their particular area, their annual revenue for initial work comp visits only yielded approximately $30,000. The reason for this is because the practice focused on the revenue generated by followup visits only.
So we changed the focus to initial visits and you can see the improvement in the revenue, close to $350,000. With providers and management monitoring what we call the followup ratio, providers were releasing patients back to regular duty or referring them out completely. They weren’t hanging on to them. So, what this did was freed up appointment times in the clinic to account for new injuries. And you’ll see that the change positively impacts net revenue by 207%.
So, let’s talk about cancel or no show appointments. These are missed opportunities that’s comparable to really just throwing cash out the window. Establishing policies of cancellation recapture and then communicating those results to your team establishes accountability. Your team will be willing to work together to get patients back into your office if the information is communicated to them on a regular basis. They need to be in the know. If you haven’t captured your cancellation percentage, start there and then set a reduction goal.
So, how do you determine your areas of improvement or change? Create a score card that outlines your patient outcome drivers, financial drivers, and volume drivers. This well-rounded tool will help you establish where you currently stand. So, you want to score yourselves often to ensure that you are up to date and up to speed on your current workflow. You want to create policies to standardize processes and create a clear path of communication to your team.
Based on the results of the scorecard, you really should determine your action items and then plan to follow through on those outstanding tasks or items to keep you on track. Periodic meetings will ensure you stay in line with achieving your goal and you meet those completion dates.
So, we’ve talked about operational outcomes and growth. So let’s take a moment to discuss the most important outcome and that’s our patients. If we don’t have patients, then we don’t have a business, right?
So having policies in place to account for missed, canceled, and no-show appointments is as important as maintaining a wait time that’s reasonable from a patient’s perspective. The last thing you want to have is to have a patient walk out of the door and alert their employer, which is your client, that wait times are too long. Remember that 10 minutes does not feel like a long time unless you’re the one sitting in the lobby with nothing to do but wait for your name to be called. This delay could ultimately result in loss of business.
So, now we’re ready to be called back as the patient. What’s the flow? Is it efficient? Are the services provided accurate and in line with what your client requires? Are you providing the services expeditiously?
From an employer standpoint, receiving paperwork on their employee in a timely manner, filled out correctly, is critical in the maintenance of their own records, whether they’re for their own corporate standards or for regulatory purposes, such as the DOT.
In the end, it all comes down to patient satisfaction. Are you surveying your patients after their visit to ensure they received the best quality of care? Receiving patient feedback is the only way to know how your facility is truly performing. So, by focusing your key performance indicators on the three: patient outcomes, enhancing your margins and building volume, you’ll lay the foundation for a successful business.